Elliot m3, the following is a recipe I have been using for a few years now, it is worth the messing about with the optional ingredients. I can claim no credit for the recipe, in fact it is copyright of someone who goes by the name of Cory Ander. I realise I may have breached copyright by posting it here, but if you try it, and like it, I'll pass you on the details where I found this, and a very good Madras recipe....
I have divided the ingredients into those that I consider essential and those that I consider optional. I use all of them and I suggest that you do too, certainly on the first occasion. You can subsequently adjust the ingredients to your liking.
Makes about 10 Onion Bhajis (of about 8cm diameter)
Oil for deep-fat frying
340g onions (thinly sliced into about 4cm long strips)
120g gram flour ("besan")
3 tbsp Greek (or plain) yoghurt
3 tbsp fresh (or bottled) lemon juice
2 tsp garam masala (any decent one will do)
1 tsp salt
About 50ml of water
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp mint jelly
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (rubbed between fingers)
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
1 tsp curry power (any decent one will do)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A few drops of yellow food colouring
1. Dissolve the mint jelly (if using) in a little warm water
2. Put the onions and gram flour into a large non-metallic bowl (together with the fenugreek leaves, fresh coriander, fennel seeds and cumin seeds, if using)
3. Mix the egg, yoghurt, lemon juice, garam masala and salt (together with the sugar, dissolved mint jelly, curry powder, chilli powder, tumeric powder, garlic powder and food colouring, if using)
4. Add the mixture from Step 3 to the onions and gram flour in Step 2
5. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 1600C (or use a deep saucepan)
Note: Don't heat the oil to too high a temperature! If it is too hot, the bhajis will burn on the outside and remain uncooked in the middle. The oil should be just hot enough so that the bhajis initially sink, then rise to the surface after a few seconds, and then gently bubble away
7. Use two tablespoons (or similar) to mould the batter into a rough ball shape
Note: This will be very tricky if the batter is too thin!
8. Drop the bhajis, one by one, into the oil, and cook for about 5 minutes until the outside is golden
Note: Only cook three or four bhajis at a time. Otherwise, the oil will become too cool, for the bhajis to cook properly, and they will stick to each other.
Note: The bhajis will initially sink to the bottom of the pan. After a few seconds, gently lift each bhaji off the bottom of the pan with a slotted spoon, fish slice, or similar implement (but ensure that the batter is firm enough to move them first!). The bhajis will then rise to the surface and gently cook.
Note: Remove the bhajis before they are too dark; they will continue to cook and darken after they have been removed from the oil
9. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bhajis. Place them on kitchen paper to drain
1. Unless stated otherwise, the following measures apply:
a) "tsp" = 1 level 5ml teaspoon
b) "tbsp" = 1 level 15ml tablespoon
2. If you cut the onions too short, the bhajis will have a much smoother (i.e. "pakora-like") appearance
3. Best eaten, whilst warm, but enjoyable cold too